Entries from September 2006

September 8, 2006

History of Trade Winds in Oxnard

Filed under: History,Los Angeles,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 11:08 am
Rendering of Trade Winds' Tiki Temple by decorator Ione Keenan, from the collection of Tim Keenan
Rendering of Trade Winds’ Tiki Temple by decorator Ione Keenan, from the collection of Tim Keenan
Trade Winds dinner menu, from the collection of Mimi Payne
Trade Winds dinner menu,
from the collection of Mimi Payne

As recently as April, the only things I knew about the Trade Winds in Oxnard were 1) its Wagon Wheel Road address, 2) that it had tikis, and 3) it was long gone. I’d seen a menu from my friend Mimi’s collection, but that was about it. But in April of this year, bongofury posted on Tiki Central the results of his in-depth research into the history of the Trade Winds. He was able to include blueprints and old photos, which give a pretty decent view of what this deluxe restaurant was like (it had several themed rooms, including an East Indies room, a Zanzibar room, and the centerpiece, a tiki temple). He also revealed that for a short time, the location was turned into a Don the Beachcomber.

A few weeks ago, the son of Ione Keenan, Trade Winds’ decorator, joined Tiki Central. Ojaitimo has posted images from his mother’s scrapbook, including the above drawing she did of the central tiki temple in 1963, a year before Trade Winds opened. There are also a few contemporary news articles, showing how popular the Trade Winds was when it first opened.

This is one of the many things that makes Tiki Central such a special place — new discoveries are being unearthed all the time, and it has become a lightning rod for those who have personal connections to Polynesian Pop’s early history.

September 7, 2006

Las Vegas Don the Beachcomber Menu

Filed under: Art,History,Las Vegas,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 10:56 pm
Las Vegas Don the Beachcomber menu, from the collection of Derrick Bostrom
Las Vegas Don the Beachcomber menu, from the collection of Derrick Bostrom

I love the graphic look of this Don the Beachcomber menu from Las Vegas. It comes from the collection of Derrick Bostrom, whose grandparents had quite a collection of menus from their travels. Bostrom has these menus now, and has been posting them on his blog. He’s also shared a menu from the Islands in Phoenix, and he has a 1948 Don the Beachcomber menu that he hasn’t posted yet — I’m looking forward to seeing it; longtime readers may remember that the look of Humu Kon Tiki was inspired by a vintage Don the Beachcomber menu.

Captivating Rapa Nui Photos

Filed under: Tiki — Humuhumu @ 9:37 pm
Moai on Rapa Nui, by harro
Moai on Rapa Nui, by harro

Some arrestingly beautiful photographs of Rapa Nui have been posted on Tiki Central by harro. Harro lives in Australia, and recently spent 5-1/2 days on Rapa Nui with a friend. It’s always interesting to hear people’s tales of travel to Easter Island — it’s so remote, and such an unusual destination, that it seems every trip has its own quirks and its own challenges, and its own life-changing rewards. So many people have been swept up by Rapa Nui; I hear time and again that it just feels like you’re on hallowed ground when you are standing near the massive stone moai.

If you’re one of those people who is fascinated by Rapa Nui, with dreams of going there someday, or returning there, be sure to check out Tiki Chris’ Rapa Nui News blog.

Kon-Tiki in Kuwait City

Filed under: Middle East,Tiki,Trader Vic's — Humuhumu @ 8:53 pm
Kon-Tiki in Kuwait City, photo from Dan in the Desert
Kon-Tiki in Kuwait City, photo from Dan in the Desert

The above photo of Kon-Tiki comes from the website of Dan in the Desert, a civilian working in the Middle East. I first came across his post about this unusual restaurant in Kuwait City last December. He made only passing reference to it, and I still don’t know a lot about the place, but today I finally got off my duff and got it entered into Critiki.

Kon-Tiki, from the Radisson SAS website
Kon-Tiki, from the
Radisson SAS website

Kon-Tiki is just a restaurant — alcohol is a big kapu in Kuwait. It is indeed a Polynesian restaurant, and you can just almost see what appears to be a tiki on the wall in this photo. The really striking thing about this restaurant, though, is that it sits directly beneath an authentic Kuwaiti dhow that is in permanent dry-dock. That dramatic curved wall and ceiling is actually the hull of a ship. That ship is called the Al Boom, and it holds a steakhouse. The Kon-Tiki is at the Radisson SAS Hotel, which is in Salwa, a sort of suburb of Kuwait City, and it is right on the Persian Gulf. There is also a simple website for the hotel, which has this small picture, but it doesn’t reveal much more about this unusual Polynesian restaurant.

Many people are unaware that Polynesian restaurants are not uncommon in the Middle East; in fact, Trader Vic’s has nine Middle East locations — there are currently only seven operating in the United States.

La Mariana Up for Sale

Filed under: Hawaii,History,News,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 2:22 pm
Annette Nahinu at La Mariana, photo by Gregory Yamamoto for the Honolulu Advertiser
Annette Nahinu at La Mariana, photo by Gregory Yamamoto for the Honolulu Advertiser

Annette Nahinu, owner of Honolulu’s La Mariana Sailing Club, is looking to sell. La Mariana is a longtime institution, the last of the true old-style tiki bars still in operation on the island. Nahinu is turning 92 later this month, and wants to ensure La Mariana will continue after she’s gone; she has no heirs, and needs to make plans now before it’s too late. She plans to donate some of the proceeds from the sale to the University of Connecticut, her alma mater; she says it was the only university willing to admit her. One of her special terms: she wants to continue to live in the apartment home above La Mariana until she dies.

One of the regulars quoted in a Honolulu Advertiser article says:

It’s the last authentic taste of Hawai’i… It’s the absolute, true feel of old Hawai’i.

This is interesting, since La Mariana, like the many other restaurants, hotels and nightclubs that sprung up in Hawaii during the heavy tourist years of the 1950s and 1960s, wasn’t authentic Hawaiian — it was manufactured to deliver on visitors’ idealized expectations of Hawaii. These expectations were partially set by tourists’ visits to Polynesian restaurants back home — which in turn had their basis in the minds of Hollywood-type decorators and designers, probably more than any actual knowledge of the then-exotic islands. The restaurants and bars of Honolulu did, however, develop their own local character that set them apart from their mainland forebears, thanks especially to the wonderful musical performances there, and the unique social world of the people who lived and worked there. La Mariana likely does deliver a feel of old Hawaii, if your definition of “old Hawaii” is the middle of the last century.

La Mariana was opened by Annette Nahinu more than 50 years ago, and it has become a sort of resting place of Waikiki’s storied Polynesian Pop past; tikis there came from the Sheraton’s Kon-Tiki, lamps came from the Trader Vic’s, and tables and chairs came out of the Don the Beachcomber. It’s all a bit worse for the wear, but thank goodness it’s still somewhere to be admired and enjoyed. With luck, someone who respects the history represented at La Mariana will purchase it and ensure its continued longevity.

September 6, 2006

Swanky’s Massive Mai-Kai Postcard Collection

Filed under: Ft. Lauderdale & Miami,History,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 12:54 pm
Mai-Kai postcard, from the collection of Swanky
Mai-Kai postcard, from the collection of Swanky

Swanky has shared scans of many Mai-Kai postcards from his collection on his Swank Blather blog. These include interior shots, exterior shots, and artists’ renderings of this most beautiful and archetypical of Polynesian palaces. As can be seen in some of the postcards, the exterior of the Mai-Kai has changed dramatically over the years — not just due to expansion, but also because of the encroachment of the city (when it was new, the Mai-Kai was quite isolated), and the growth of the lush jungle-like foliage around it. Swanky will be bringing his postcard collection with him to the Hukilau next month. Via MrBaliHai’s Eye of the Goof.

Jasmine Tree Tiki Decor Going to Thatch

Filed under: History,News,Portland,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 12:26 pm
Jasmine Tree tikis, originally from the Portland Kon-Tiki
Jasmine Tree tikis, originally from the Portland Kon-Tiki

The questions surrounding the future of Portland’s Jasmine Tree appear to have largely been answered. Due to urban redevelopment, the Jasmine Tree had the choice of shutting down or relocating, but has to be out of its current location by the end of October. The search for a new location has not been successful; there is still a slim chance that the restaurant could move, but if it does, it won’t have a tiki theme. The owners of the Jasmine Tree have agreed to sell the tiki decor to Robert Volz, who is opening a new tiki bar in northeast Portland, called Thatch. Volz had worked with the Jasmine Tree owners to try to find them a new location; he plans to use much of the decor in Thatch, and may sell some of the decor to fellow Portland-area tikiphiles and Tiki Centralites.

While the Jasmine Tree is not my favorite tiki bar, it is very notable for its decor. The items aren’t presented in the greatest way, but they have a great pedigree — much of it came from the Portland Kon-Tiki when it closed. Most striking is the set of three large cannibal tikis in the picture above, as seen in many menus from Steve Crane’s Kon-Tiki locations, and also Steve Crane’s Luau in Beverly Hills. The prospect of these tikis, and other Kon-Tiki decor, continuing to be available for the public to see (and perhaps in an even better environment) is good news.

Thatch’s opening date has not yet been announced, but it sounds like work is very far along, and the bar will hopefully be opening soon.

September 5, 2006

How to Build a Tiki Bar

Filed under: Tiki — Humuhumu @ 12:32 pm
Build a Real Tiki Bar, from Atomic Magazine Vol. 1, No. 3
Build a Real Tiki Bar, from Atomic Magazine Vol. 1, No. 3
How to Build a Tiki Bar, from Atomic Magazine Vol. 1, No. 3
How to Build a Tiki Bar,
from Atomic Magazine Vol. 1, No. 3

This comes from Atomic Magazine’s Fall 1999 issue — a very tongue-in-cheek set of instructions on how to build a tiki bar, designed to look like a family-friendly (until you read the finer print) construction kit from the 1950s. This was sent to me by Frank Dellario after meeting him at last spring’s Game Developer’s Conference in San Jose. Frank is the fellow pictured here with the pipe and glasses; he pulled together the bamboo information for the article. The other fellow pictured is Paul Jannicola, who is now part of Frank’s machinima team, ILL Clan. Michael Cogliantry photographed the spread, and Jeff Griffith did the layout and captions. This is from pretty early in the revival of interest in tiki (the Book of Tiki didn’t come out until the next year), and it’s neat to see some of the vanguards of modern-day tiki culture in action.

See step-by-step instructions after the jump…

(more…)

September 4, 2006

Australian Tiki Carver Marcus Thorn

Filed under: Art,Australia & New Zealand,People,Shopping,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 10:17 am
Maori-style carving by Marcus Thorn
Maori-style carving by Marcus Thorn
Aussie tiki carver, Marcus Thorn
Aussie tiki carver, Marcus Thorn

This past spring, I had the great pleasure of spending a few days with Tiki Beat‘s Marcus Thorn, and his wife Yvette. Marcus is a fantastic tiki carver, he’s been making a living at his art the past decade-plus — he is in high demand in his native Australia, and his tikis have found homes all over the globe. Marcus and Yvette have been a fixture in Australia’s rockabilly scene for ages, and are very happy that Australia is finally developing a bit of a tiki scene, as well. A bit over a year ago, Marcus joined in with the band of merry carvers at Tiki Central, and has been sharing in-progress pictures of many of his carvings on a thread of his own. Marcus and Yvette are incredibly gracious people, and care a lot about giving their customers the best bang for their tiki-buying buck — every year they host a great big luau for their friends and customers at their ranch/estate outside Brisbane.

Shag Tiki Rubix Cube

Filed under: Art,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 9:46 am
Shag tiki Rubix cube, by Atomicchick
Shag tiki Rubix cube, by Atomicchick

Nope, this isn’t the latest product from Shagmart — this is something Atomicchick whipped up when struck with a bout of boredom.


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Humuhumu
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Humuhumu is the creator of several tiki websites. She is a designer and programmer based out of San Francisco.

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